Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Princess and the Goblin ” as Want to Read:
The Princess and the Goblin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

The Princess and the Goblin (Princess Irene and Curdie #1)

by
3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  20,561 Ratings  ·  1,053 Reviews
Princess Irene's discovery of a secret stair leads to a wonderful revelation. At the same time, Curdie overhears a fiendish plot by the goblins. Princess Irene & Curdie must make sense of their separate knowledge & foil the goblins' schemes.
Paperback, 241 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Puffin (first published 1872)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Princess and the Goblin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Princess and the Goblin

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
101st out of 1,830 books — 7,501 voters
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlSwitch! The Lost Kingdoms of Karibu by Karen  Prince
Best Children's Fantasy
36th out of 546 books — 875 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sanjay Gautam
Jan 01, 2016 Sanjay Gautam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No wonder why Tolkien and CS Lewis admired this tale. A very fine and enchanting story.
Jason Koivu
Jun 09, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
A princess, a miner and a goblin walk into a story...

Feel like you've heard this one before? Maybe the characters are unusual, but the form and general content of The Princess and the Goblin written by George MacDonald in 1872 would go on to become one of the foundation cornerstones for fantasy literature in the following century. Tolkien and Lewis owe MacDonald a good deal. Without those Inklings fantasy just wouldn't be the same today.

As with many progenitors, MacDonald's book feels dated. Aft
...more
Zoë (readbyzoe)
Book 15/100 for 2015!
Also, a book I read for my Children's Literature class!
I thought this book was good, but definitely not my favorite. I didn't really like MacDonald's writing style, especially when he broke the 4th wall and kept refusing to describe things while also describing them (like "I COULD tell you what this looked like, but I really can't."?????). He sorta got on my nerves. Another thing that I didn't really like was that MacDonald didn't explain everything! Like, for instance, what
...more
Chloe
Feb 24, 2008 Chloe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children and fairytale lovers.
Recommended to Chloe by: A booklist (maybe by Michael D. O'Brien).
When I think of the magic of childhood, certain images come into my head. There’s a sort of sparkle, warmth, and yet there is always danger. However, childhood magic has an incomparable sweetness to it. There are few books that manage to touch on this nigh-indescribable feeling of childhood magic. The Princess and the Goblin is such a book.
The story is a fairytale, in the same order as Jack and the Beanstalk and The Goose Girl. There is a princess, a peasant boy, a castle and, of course, goblins
...more
Breanne
Sep 06, 2012 Breanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was immediately drawn to this story when I read the first page to this edition which reads:

"THERE was once a little princess who—
"But Mr. Author, why do you always write about princesses?"
"Because every little girl is a princess."
"You will make them vain if you tell them that."
"Not if they understand what I mean."
"Then what do you mean?"
"What do you mean by a princess?"
"The daughter of a king."
"Very well, then every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything about it
...more
Barnabas Piper
Nov 21, 2014 Barnabas Piper rated it it was amazing
One of the best children's stories ever, and of course by that I mean one of the best stories for anyone.
Vanessa
May 12, 2008 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Vanessa by: Stefanie
Shelves: book-club-books
This was a really charming children's novel. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. This would be a great book to read aloud as a family. I am excited to read more of George MacDonald's books and learn more about him. Apparently, many writers have been influenced by MacDonald, including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L'Engle, and Lewis Carroll. Thank you, Stefanie, for introducing me to such a great author!
Suvi
The mentor of Lewis Carroll, and revered by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien among others, the severe-looking Scottish author clearly had a knack for creating magical things. Very few authors have said that they don't write for children, "but for the child-like, whether they be of five, or fifty, or seventy-five". The Princess and the Goblin is a fully-fledged children's fantasy novel, however, but also much more than a story of rescuing the princess and the kingdom.

Eight-year-old princess Irene
...more
Julie Davis
Oct 14, 2014 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing
This is a book my mother has long tried to get me to read since it was a childhood favorite of hers. Over the years I have heard it was also a favorite of C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, G.K. Chesterton and (possibly) J.R.R. Tolkien. With all that going for it, you'd think I'd have jumped on the bandwagon long ago.

It took me finding this LibriVox recording from one of my favorite narrators who has lamentably few books recorded, Andy Minter. He is simply superb. I get that delicious feeling of bei
...more
Nico
Apr 22, 2008 Nico rated it it was amazing
I read this as a child and loved it! I still think about the book, and look at my sensitive feet in dismay!
Suzannah
Apr 09, 2015 Suzannah rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, classics
First time reading this for years. Just as much fun as I remembered
Saba
This book has been on my shelf since I was, I think, eleven. My father bought it for me even though I didn't seem to think I wanted to read it. Fast forward eight years and I can say this truly was a well written book that children will enjoy for it's fantasy and themes of bravery, and will be able to relate to the characters themselves. Removing this from dusty corners of my bookshelf, I will be honest, my interest in reading this only perked up when I learnt that it had served as inspiration f ...more
Cindi
Just finished reading this with my nine year old daughter. It took us a while to get into the Christian imagery. The imagery itself is just beautiful; there are images of God, prayer and answers to prayer to name a few.

All of the greatest fantasy novels depict the great trials that humans must go through in life. Though there may be magic in the tale, it does not make the going easy. My fairy tale mindedness sometimes wonders why with the zap of a wand all cannot be made well, but deep inside me
...more
Dan
Dec 30, 2015 Dan rated it really liked it
The Princess and the Goblin is a fun and fantastical read for children of all ages. Introducing many tropes of modern fantasy while moving along at a quick pace.

It has some violence and battles, though it is minimal and confrontations are often resolved with alternative methods, and is hardly explicit even when their is fighting. The story is exciting and fast paced enough to keep a young reader's attention and it has some positive morals for younger readers too. It also has a bit of Christian s
...more
Joy C.
What a beautiful, charming story. I loved it! <3
Mary Catelli
A tale of a little princess growing up in a country house/castle -- kept carefully inside for the danger of the goblins who live in the mountains.

On one rainy day, Princess Irene wanders in the house, gets lost, finds a woman spinning in the tower, unbeknownst to anyone inside -- her great-great-grandmother Irene. On the first clear day after that storm, she goes walking with her nurse-- too far -- and can not return before nightfall, when the goblins start to menace them. Fortunately, they meet
...more
Adam
Dec 28, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
"'People must believe what they can, and those who believe more must not be hard upon those who believe less.'"

"The Princess and the Goblin" is a charmingly simple fairy tale--which is to say, it is superficially uncomplicated but full of imagery and themes ripe for symbolic or metaphorical interpretation. (Some of the language and themes may sound a bit trite to modern ears, but that might say more about modern ears than it does about the language and themes.) George MacDonald's work influenced
...more
Fordlikethecar
Jan 29, 2013 Fordlikethecar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My introduction to George MacDonald. Upon finishing The Princess and the Goblin with my daughter, we went on to read The Princess and Curdie, The Light Princess and The Wise Woman in quick succession. His style is more conversational than Lewis (and often more preachy), more focused and intimate than Tolkien in The Hobbit and LOTR. MacDonald is not bringing us into a world of epic fantasy, but using fantasy as a vehicle to convey his ideas about reality, which are, to me, some of the most refres ...more
Kathryn
Oct 15, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a children's book, and is a little didactic in the vein of Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. What I love about this book is its feeling of wonder. The first time I read about Irene's grandmother, I was scared and inspired at the same time. Both this and the Princess and Curdie are extended allegories about faith and hope. The Princess and Curdie is, for me, stranger and more apocalyptic, and I enjoy it less than The Princess and the Goblin. Check out MacDonald's shorter fairy tales, too (The ...more
Jessica
I watched the animated movie non-stop when I was little (Rik Mayall and Mrs. Slocombe were the voices of some characters, omg). The source book was nice and the reading by the Librivox volunteer was lovely.
Dana
Jun 09, 2015 Dana rated it liked it
This was my first George MacDonald book and was recommended for my ladies classics book club by a few of my girlfriends who love it. I did enjoy it even though I felt like I was reading a children's book. I normally do not read fantasy and found the creativity and imagination of MacDonald to be delightful. His depiction of the cob's animals was one of my favorite parts. I also liked the sweet relationship between Irene and her King-papa and the some of the conversations between Irene and Curdie ...more
Sophie Weeks
Nov 15, 2014 Sophie Weeks rated it really liked it
I loved this book--I can't think how MacDonald has been excluded from the canon of classic children's literature, except by his relatively outlandish theologies. But being friendly to outlandish theologies, I admired how flawlessly and evocatively MacDonald lays out his images of the divine feminine. MacDonald, like the Inklings whom his work later inspired (C.S. Lewis said MacDonald's Phantastes "baptized his imagination"), creates by sheer force of will a space to talk about faith and mysterie ...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
29% read - 9 chapters. DNF. Long-winded and dull. Great-great-grandmother, Princess Irene's namesake, was the only vaguely interesting thing about this one.

Downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
Jane
Jan 02, 2016 Jane rated it it was amazing
How did I miss reading this delightful story as a child? A smart and feisty princess, a kind and resourceful miner, and a tale of goblin intrigue and a mysterious great great grandmother. A sweet story with nice characters and an interesting plot. Can't wait to read The Princess and Curdie. Also the original drawings are darling.

The author note says that it was at MacDonald's urging that Lewis Carroll submitted Alice for publication, and that J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired by his tales. How DID I n
...more
Bob
Oct 17, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the book that G. K. Chesterton said "made a difference to my whole existence." I am not sure that I can say the same but I did find myself impressed once again with George MacDonald's writing and asking why I hadn't read this sooner.

Princess Irene lives on the side of a beautiful mountain that harbors a dark secret in terms of a goblin kingdom, whose rulers are pursuing a nefarious purpose--nothing less than kidnapping the princess. She and her nurse are rescued from one nearly tragic ve
...more
Prudence Chan
Aug 08, 2014 Prudence Chan rated it really liked it
George MacDonald's stories are always so full of symbolic meanings. If you read between the lines, you'll find the story full of creative allegories of faith and hope. There're always questions to ponder and choices to make within the stories, which make his work a good place for self reflection. This story about the princess who has a childlike faith reminded me of believing without seeing. There is a gradual process of the maturing of the princess's faith from the moment she met the great grea ...more
Che
Jan 03, 2009 Che rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fairy-tales
If you like Tolkien you will quiver with delight and dread over the beauty and darkness of this book. MacDonald was an influence on Tolkien and Lewis, etc. In here you will find some of the seeds of the LOTR, such as hideous goblins and their dark, corrupt origins, cavernous journeys in subterranean mines of misty mountains, heroic innocence and magic. But the magic in MacDonald is perhaps more exotic and strange and beautiful than that of Tolkien. Invisible threads spun of spider's webs, flamin ...more
John
Sep 09, 2012 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
A peculiar book by modern standards. I found it readable, but not very interesting.

There's no real plot until about three-quarters of the way through. There are unrelated events. Some are interesting, some are mysterious and develop mild suspense for that reason, but there's no force driving any character, no goals in sight, and no serious threat to any character. Characters are dull. Good characters are treacly, evil or foolish characters are evil or foolish without being interesting.

The end is
...more
Eden
May 14, 2012 Eden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, reviewed
Princess Irene was never allowed out after dark because of the goblins. But of course, she did not know this. One day she is out with her nurse and they stay out a bit too late and begin to hear things. Then, they meet Curdie, who helps them home.
But soon enough, Princess Irene finds out about the goblins and must stop them.

When I was a kid, I watched The Princess and The Goblin cartoon movie. I remember loving it and watching it quite often. I haven't seen it in many years, but I remember the m
...more
Brianne
Ok,so I'm entirely biased here. I grew up with the movie by the same name and loved it! (I now want to watch the film again because from what I remember, it was pretty faithful to the book.)
That being said, the book is quite loverly. It was a very quick and easy read, but it was sweet and funny. Irene's grandmother, or great-great-great grandmother (can't remember how many greats there are), was a very interesting character with all of her magics. I was extra curious about it when I found out th
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Book of Dragons
  • The King of the Golden River
  • Tales of the Kingdom (Tales of the Kingdom, #1)
  • The Little White Horse
  • The Two Collars (Bracken Trilogy, #3)
  • The Reluctant Dragon
  • The Crimson Fairy Book
  • The Wood Beyond the World
  • Knight's Castle (Tales of Magic, #2)
  • The Drowned Vault (Ashtown Burials, #2)
  • The Gammage Cup (The Minnipins, #1)
  • The Book of Wonder
2413
George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.

Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle. It was C.S. Lewis that wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I be
...more
More about George MacDonald...

Other Books in the Series

Princess Irene and Curdie (2 books)
  • The Princess and Curdie

Share This Book



“Seeing is not believing - it is only seeing.” 152 likes
“We are all very anxious to be understood, and it is very hard not to be. But there is one thing much more necessary.'
What is that, grandmother?'
To understand other people.'
Yes, grandmother. I must be fair - for if I'm not fair to other people, I'm not worth being understood myself. I see.”
83 likes
More quotes…